Geological technicians support the work of professional geologists by collecting and analysing information from rock samples. Much of the work involves routine laboratory duties - preparing rock and soil samples for testing, and carrying out tests on the chemical composition and/or physical properties of samples.
A range of specialised instruments and computers are used, and technicians may be involved in servicing and maintaining the laboratory equipment. Depending on the type of research being carried out, other duties can include data entry and processing, interpreting data from seismic surveys and the preparation of geological maps.
Senior technicians may be responsible for training and supervising juniors, scheduling the work, maintaining quality standards and producing reports.
Geological technicians based in a laboratory usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Occasionally some evening and weekend work may be necessary in order to meet deadlines. If they are involved in the maintenance of electronic equipment and computers they may have to work outside normal hours during emergency call-outs. Part-time work is sometimes possible.
If working in a laboratory, geological technicians have to wear protective clothing and safety equipment when involved in certain type of activities. If the employer is one of the international service companies that supports the oil, gas and mining industries, there may be opportunities to work abroad.
To be a geological technician you should:
Most geological technicians are employed in the oil sector. There are also opportunities at the 50 universities and other institutions in the UK that offer geology degree courses, as technicians are needed to support the training of student geologists. The largest single employer of geologists and technical staff in the UK is the British Geological Survey, which is part of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Some technicians go on to work as geologists.
With the increasing use of sophisticated technology, professional geologists are expected to be less reliant on technicians. Additionally, in a drive to lower costs, many of the large oil companies outsource a lot of work to service companies.
Larger organisations tend to have formal career structures; technicians employed in smaller companies may have less opportunity for promotion and are likely to have to move employer in order to progress. It may be possible to move to a managerial post or into other sectors, for example, as a laboratory manager or as a laboratory technician in a different industry or in education. Overseas work may be possible with some employers.
If you would like to know anything about Geological Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
North Star Avenue
Tel: 01793 411500
61 New Cavendish Street